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Eastern Bank named No. 1 SBA lender in Massachusetts for second consecutive year

Bank also named top small business lender in New England

BOSTON, Oct. 13, 2010 – For the second consecutive year, Eastern Bank outpaced larger competitors to rank as the No. 1 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in Massachusetts.  Eastern was also named the No. 1 SBA lender in New England, the bank announced today.
  
Eastern Bank made 320 SBA loans in Massachusetts totaling more than $17 million, according to the SBA’s Boston District Office.  The rankings are issued annually in October, based on the number of loans originated by banks in the SBA fiscal year, which runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
 
Eastern ranked No. 1 in the number of SBA loans originated and dollar amount in Massachusetts.  It also ranked first in the number of SBA loans originated in New England.  Eastern’s 320 SBA loans created 414 jobs and retained 1,392 jobs, according to the SBA.

Eastern more than doubled the amount of SBA loans it made last year (156) as it further demonstrated its desire and commitment to service small business. 

“Eastern Bank is proud to lead Massachusetts and all of New England in lending to small businesses, which create jobs and propel economic growth,” said Richard E. Holbrook, chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank.  “Successful small business lending is a team effort among the SBA, the community and our business bankers, who are eager to meet the needs of small business owners.”
  
Small business accounts for 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States and employs half of the nation’s private sector workforce.  Small firms pay 44 percent of the total U.S. private payroll, have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years, and hire 43 percent of high tech workers, according to the SBA.

“We are indeed fortunate to have Eastern Bank as our lending partner, working on behalf of our mutual small business customers,” said Bob Nelson, Massachusetts SBA District Director. “Eastern Bank’s commitment to small businesses, especially during these tough economic times is extremely commendable.  We applaud Eastern Bank for their outstanding contributions and efforts to small business lending in Massachusetts.”

Although Eastern Bank is only the state’s fifth largest bank based on deposits, it launched an extensive education program for its staff about the many advantages of partnering with the SBA in its mission to repeat as the No. 1 SBA lender in Massachusetts. 

Throughout the last 11 years, Eastern Bank has expanded its services for businesses of all sizes, particularly small businesses.  Since 2006, for example, Eastern Bank has more than doubled its number of business bankers who serve the small business market.

Over the past several years, Eastern Bank has ranked among the top five lenders – usually the top three lenders – to businesses with less than $1 million in annual sales in the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area, according to reports compiled by the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council.  The rankings include both SBA and non-SBA loans.

SBA loans are intended to help businesses that may not qualify for conventional loans get the funds they need to start, grow and expand.  In 2001, Eastern Bank’s experience with processing and servicing SBA-guaranteed loans earned it the designation as a preferred lender, allowing it to speed up the loan approval process significantly.

Starting in 2008, Eastern Bank placed a greater emphasis on providing SBA loans, including the addition of an SBA specialist to its team of business banking professionals. 

The following is a breakdown of Eastern Bank SBA loans by region:

Location

Loans

Volume

Cape Cod

21

$900,000

Greater Boston

40

$2,665,000

Merrimack Valley

22

$1,203,400  

MetroWest

3

$110,200

North Shore

143

$5,998,800

South Shore

91

$ 6,625,500

Total

320

$17,502,900

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the largest independent and mutually owned bank in New England, with almost $7.0 billion in assets and more than 80 branches serving communities from the Merrimack Valley to Cape Cod.  Eastern Bank offers banking, investments and insurance all under one roof, and prides itself on working harder to understand its customers’ needs so it can deliver these services in a committed and personal way.  Eastern Bank includes Eastern Wealth Management, Eastern Insurance and Fantini & Gorga, a real estate advisory firm.

For more information, contact: Andrew Ravens, Public Relations, Eastern Bank, 781-598-8528, or e-mail Andrew Ravens.

Eastern Bank is now on Facebook.  Visit us at www.facebook.com/easternbank.